Subpoenas were served Friday to more than a dozen people with ties to embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is struggling to contain a burgeoning scandal over a days-long traffic jam last year.
A New Jersey General Assembly committee investigating the episode has asked 17 Christie associates to submit documents. Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), the committee’s chairman, said the recipients will be called to testify before the panel in the coming weeks.
The list includes David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who recently refused to testify before an assembly committee. Bill Stepien, Christie’s former political strategist, and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff — two Christie allies who were fired by the governor last week — also were served.
Additionally, a number of current Christie staffers — including chief of staff Kevin O’Dowd, deputy chief of staff Maria Comella and press secretary Michael Drewniak — were asked to produce materials. So was David Samson, the Port Authority’s chairman, who is regarded as one of Christie’s most influential political advisers.
Three organizations, including Christie’s gubernatorial office and his reelection campaign, were on the list as well.
The subpoenas are broad and require all relevant electronic and written correspondence to be presented.
The Christie administration has hired Randy Mastro, a high-profile defense attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, as counsel.
Wisniewski’s committee is one of two legislative probes looking into September’s lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, an apparent act of political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The state Senate’s committee expects to issue more subpoenas next week.
Alan Zegas, an attorney for Wildstein, said his client is eager to share fresh information. But before he speaks out, Wildstein is asking state and federal prosecutors to grant him immunity.
“If he is conferred immunity, my client will fully cooperate and share his story,” Zegas said. In the meantime, he added, Wildstein “intends to fully comply with his legal obligations and will voluntarily supply documents that do not have redactions.”
This month, Wildstein released partially redacted e-mails to the legislature regarding the bridge flap. The e-mails caused a political storm and led the Democratic-controlled state legislature to launch two inquiries.
Wildstein later cited his right to plead the Fifth Amendment and declined to speak with lawmakers about the incident.
“My client is willing to speak freely if he is conferred immunity,” Zegas said. “If he is granted immunity, he will fully cooperate. In the meantime, he intends to fully comply with his legal obligations, and we will voluntarily supply more documents without redactions.”
Kevin Marino, an attorney for Stepien, said Friday that his client has “received the subpoena and is reviewing it.” He had no comment on whether Stepien would seek immunity before he testifies.
Christie, this year’s chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will travel to Florida this weekend to raise money for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who faces a tough reelection race. On Sunday, Christie will attend a reception hosted by Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone.